Philadelphia 76ers’ star center Joel Embiid says he should be the NBA’s defensive player of the year. Is he right? Does he have a case?
The top of discussion for many Sixers fans so far has been if Joel Embiid is deserving to win the MVP award this season. While Embiid has that on his mind it’s not the only award he’s aiming for this season.
Joel Embiid joined ESPN’s Zach Lowe on his podcast “The Lowe Post” Friday morning and made a very interesting statement. Embiid stated that he not only wants to be the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year but that he SHOULD be the Defensive Player of the Year.
It’s quite the bold claim, but does Embiid have a point? Has he been slept on in the DPOY discussion and is it time for the league to pay attention?
How Joel Embiid Compares
Now, stats aren’t everything, but they’re always a great place to start when measuring success. The numbers show that Embiid is undoubtedly having a beyond solid year defensively but is it enough to be called the Defensive Player of the Year?
Here’s a look at some of Embiid’s advanced defensive numbers next to DPOY favorite Rudy Gobert:
|Defensive Ranking Comparison||Joel Embiid||Rudy Gobert|
|Defensive Win Shares||4th||2nd|
|Steal Percentage (among centers)||6th||9th|
|Opponents points in the paint (among centers)||5th||2nd|
Gobert has the edge in almost every single category, and while these stats don’t paint the full picture, the majority of voters will see a board like this and already have their decision made. Regardless of the fact that Gobert constantly comes up small against the best centers in the game (in large part due to his lack of versatility.)
So does Joel Embiid have a case to be DPOY? At this point, probably not. Between the games, he’s missed and the blind faith towards Rudy Gobert, it’s unlikely that Embiid can overcome him, but it’s certainly not out of the cards for the future.
You can listen to the rest of what Embiid had to say in the link here, including his endorsement for his teammate Ben Simmons to win the same award he’s striving for.